Best and worst customer service: 2015

Over the last year, I’ve had the joy and displeasure of dealing with some truly wonderful and some absolutely terrible businesses, specifically in terms of customer service. These experiences inspired me to compile a list of business that truly stood out this year, good or bad when it comes to customer service.

Unfortunately, the good list is a little short, and that comes back to the businesses on the bad-list being guilty of all or most of the no-no’s I listed here.

Without further adieu, in no particular order:


smiley sad

Wow, this was a nightmare. A few months after the birth of my daughter I realised that there was a lot less free time that I initially thought there’d be. Evenings lounging around watching our favourite shows were replaced by washing bottles, sleepily feeding ourselves junk food and the endless march between babies’ room and the bed.

So, to save a bit of money, always handy with a new baby in the house, I decided to deactivate my DStv account for a few months, with the intention of reactivating it for the start of the Rugby World Cup. Yeah, that never happened.

First off, I tried to reactivate my account online, no dice. This is a highly touted function, but apparently after their system upgrade, this was either no longer possible or only possible once you started paying a subscription again. Seems ass-to-face to me but anyway. I call the call centre, have them reactivate my account and all seemed hunky dory. It wasn’t, not even a little bit.

The next 3 weeks went like this: I phone the call centre because I have no signal, the call centre agent informs me that I haven’t paid, I explain that it’s a debit order and it did go off my account, the call centre agent finds the payment but says it’s R50 short. I explain that I don’t set the debit orders and that they must subtract the extra R50, they agree and my signal comes back on. In between having signal and not, I would mostly have an SD signal and no HD and also have no access to CatchUp or Box Office, because I wasn’t a Premium subscriber. Because of the R50, that they aren’t deducting off the debit order I signed. And so it went on.

After the three weeks, I asked that they cancel my subscription and refund me the subscription fee. “But sir, you had the pleasure of watching for 3 weeks, we can’t refund you”. I nearly murdered my phone. Eventually, 3 different people promised me I would be refunded, that was 3 months ago.

Suffice to say I didn’t watch the World Cup through my Explora decoder, which lay there silently. No, I streamed matches through my Apple TV bummed on my parent’s account.


Time spent on the phone/in a store: 2 hours, 26 min and 18 sec

Cost of phone calls / lost productivity: R512.02

Number of people spoken to: 7

Time to resolve the issue: Unresolved

SCORE: 0/10 (you still have my money and i didn’t watch anything)


Samsung / DION WIRED

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Ugh, still struggling with this one. So we bought a Samsung air conditioner on special at Dion Wired. Over 50% off, so a really good deal as air conditioners normally are very expensive and factoring in installation comes to a hefty amount. With the heat we’re experiencing in Gauteng, this was a deal too good to pass up on.

After concluding the transaction at Dion Wired, which took an hour and 20 minutes, we were awaiting installation with excitement. The sales person at Dion Wired said between 5 and 7 working days. 2 weeks later and we still had the air conditioner neatly packed in its box, in the garage. Useless. Eventually, I started making a fuss as temperatures soared, and we finally got hold of the installer who blamed Dion Wired for over-selling. Installations are done between 14 and 21 working days, not 5 to 7. Anyway, 3 weeks after purchase we finally got it installed.

Awesome. Cold. Air. Everywhere. For 3 days. Then the damn thing stopped working. So we called the installers. They came out and checked for gas leaks (yikes) which they found, sealed and refilled the gas. Awesome. Cold. Air. Everywhere. Little less than before, but cold air! For three days. Then nothing. Out comes the installers again. A nut wasn’t fastened properly. Also, according to the installer, Dion Wired are heavy handed with the transport of the boxes and often end up damaging appliances in transit. They fill the gas. Awesome. Cold. Air. Everywhere. For 3 days.

Now I’ve had enough. I don’t want the damn air conditioner fixed any longer, I want a new one. CPA and all that. I phone Samsung. I phone the installer and I phone Dion Wired. It’s a game of pass the buck. Finally everyone agrees that a Samsung technician must come out to our house, assess the unit and then decide whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. Good luck on convincing me on repairing the infernal thing.

The call out to get a Samsung technician to come out was made 2 weeks ago. Still no sign of the mysterious technician that holds our summer comfort hostage.

Time spent on the phone/in a store: 2 hours, 9 min and 44 sec

Cost of phone calls / lost productivity: R426.68

Number of people spoken to: 8

Time to resolve the issue: Unresolved

SCORE: 0/10 (I have an air conditioner that doesn’t worK)



smiley happy

Our lawn was a mess. I mean an eyesore. After a pretty cold winter and a garden service that traipses in every single weed and thorn known to man, the lawn had succumbed and could not be saved.

I phoned around to a couple of places in our area to get a few quotes. Of the 3 establishments I contacted, only 2 offered a quote and of the 2 Easy Lawn was the cheapest.

Now the job would be a little effort. The old lawn would have to be removed, the yard isn’t a square and has some weird angles and a stump or two left from shrubs I had cut down would also need to be wrestled out the ground. Nothing stops these guys. They marched in on a Wednesday morning and by the afternoon I had a wonderfully manicured lawn.

Well done guys. See you next year and we do the bit behind the house.

Time spent on the phone/in a store: Negligible

Cost of phone calls / lost productivity: None

Number of people spoken to: 2

Time to resolve the issue: 1 week from quote acceptance and payment of deposit

SCORE: 9/10



smiley happy

My wife and I agreed before we agreed to have a baby, that she would still need to work to make the household budget tick. That would mean that baby would need to go to a daycare centre.

It would be easier to decide how you would want to die than to decide which daycare centre to send your child. Your only child. The one thing you cannot replace, ever. Doing a search online throws up as many horror stories as satisfied parents. It’s like searching for symptoms you have online and finding you’ll die in 2 days, or it may pass in a week and you’ll be fine. Which is it?!

Anyway. If you’re in need of putting your precious one in a daycare centre, Kiddie Junction is the only one I’d recommend. Small groups, large compliment of staff, stimulating activities throughout the day, meals and snacks and love and attention. A certified child psychologist heads up the school and a nurse is on duty every day. They even have a cool closed Facebook group where the teachers upload videos and pics while the kids are busy playing and learning so you don’t miss a thing.

They’re not cheap, but then, cheap isn’t the word you’re searching for when it comes to taking care of your little ones.

Time spent worrying about my daughter: None

Cost of service: Worth every penny

Number of times a day I check the Facebook group: All the time!

Time to wait to see my daughter after work: Seriously, e-tolls were supposed to lessen travel time!

SCORE: 9/10

Big up to the businesses that walk the extra mile, or at the very least deliver what they say they will. To the ones that stiff their customers at every turn, I can only wag my finger like a disappointed parent.